Thursday, December 12, 2013

Until 2014!

Happy Holidays! If you are searching for a writing-related gift for that special someone, you might consider a writing coach gift certificate. Check out my store for more details.

Last January I wrote about setting writing goals and I'll be spending some holiday-time thinking about the projects I want to tackle in 2014. Perhaps you'll be doing the same and would like to share some writing goals in the comments section below?

This has been a big year: my first chapbook, Unrest, was published and, of course, we had our baby boy.  After finishing the semester's grades, I look forward to taking some time off with family to celebrate the holidays and rest before settling back down with the laptop. I'll see you back here in January!

Monday, December 9, 2013

What the Powers of Description, Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, & Diaper Wipe Refills Have in Common

I use Grammarly for proofreading because I made one little typo, and my mom got scared. And said "You're moving with your auntie and uncle in Bel-air."

My six month old son’s laugher surprises and delights me. He giggles when I pull the tape off of the diaper wipe refill containers. He laughs when I crinkle paper into a ball. His eyebrows go up and he smiles when I throw that ball.  

He laughs when I laugh, which makes me laugh harder. It is a lot of fun being a mamma. And thinking about translating these experiences into words.

His delight at experiencing everything for the first time reminds me of the writing edict to describe the everyday world as if it were new. You, the writer, are experienced in your reality, or the fictional reality you’re creating, but the reader doesn’t know that particular world. 

Offer insight through your description, metaphors and creativity. Describe the world as if you’re seeing it for the first time (yes, like a child). To practice, keep this in mind while trying some of my writing prompts

Surprise your readers with your description. And remember that everything can be inspiration for something, even a 90’s sitcom starring Will Smith. 

And don’t make typos or grammar mistake cruises confuses your reader. Use Grammerly.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Cyber Monday Sale!

I'm offering a Fourth Free Hour to writers - or friends of writers - who book three hours of private writing coach services by  midnight tonight (Dec. 2, 2013.)

During your four hours of private writing coaching, I will read your writing and discuss it with you. You are welcome to write something in response to a prompt or submit previous writing. Don't hesitate to ask for a tailored writing prompt for your particular project or needs. 

Beginning to experienced writers can benefit from my services as a writing coach. We will meet in-person in the Washington, D.C., area, on the phone or via video conference.

Email me (chloemiller(at)gmail(dot)com) before midnight, December 2nd and you’ll be eligible for a Fourth Free Hour!

The cost for three hours is $300.00. You are welcome to purchase the hours for yourself or a friend. You can also split the hours between yourself and a friend. 

If you book by midnight EST, Dec. 2, and receive a free fourth hour, you are not eligible for the usual 10% discount on booking three hours at once. This sale ends at midnight EST, Dec. 2 Limit two discounts per customer. 

Monday, November 25, 2013

Holidays & Memoir Writing

The holiday season is officially here. And all of the traveling, gatherings, eating, shopping, wrapping and cleaning up could give you whiplash.

For the sake of your writing, I encourage you try to find at least a few quiet moments to jot down some notes. The smells and activities will bring back memories and you might be able to fill in some gaps in your memoir.

If you are celebrating with family, you could use this time to ask them some questions about their own memories, too. (You might wait to share any details about your own project until you're ready to hear their feedback.)

In the D.C. area and writing about your past? Sign up for one of my upcoming memoir writing workshops at Politics & Prose Bookstore.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Memoir Writing Classes @ Politics & Prose Bookstore in 2014

Attention D.C.-area memoir writers! My 2014 winter memoir writing workshops at Politics & Prose bookstore are now open for registration!

I’m excited to offer a new class in 2014: Memoir Writing Workshop Version 2.0. This section is open to students who have previously taken one of my memoir writing classes and will run on Monday afternoons: April 7, 21, 28, May 5, 12, 1:30-3 p.m. 

I'm also offering the four week Memoir Writing Workshop, which previous students are also welcome to retake. This class will be offered on four Monday afternoons: Jan. 27, Feb. 3, 10, 24 (no class on Presidents’ Day), 1:30-3 p.m.

The Master Class:Memoir Manuscript Workshop is for students who have already written a full manuscript (75-150 pages). For master classes, we ask that you submit a writing sample in order to be accepted into the class. This class will meet on five Tuesday evenings: January 28, February 11, February 25, March 11, March 25, 7:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.

Register today through the bookstore; these classes fill up quickly. Don’t hesitate to email me (chloemiller(at)gmail(dot)com) with any questions.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Modern Loss & A Poem for a Friend

I was moved to read about the new website Modern Loss recently on Slate. Modern Loss is a collection of articles and essays about just that - loss. The essays are beautiful. Here is a line from a piece by Emily Rapp that has stayed with me, "My son’s life was ending. Mine was not. To want to live is not a failure of love, but a tribute to the person you’ve loved and lost."

After losing my great aunt two years ago, I've been writing and reading a lot about loss. This new website helps to fill in some of the gaps and provide a community in our nation where we tend to expect everyone to simply "get on with it" after losing someone. As a new mamma, I was particularly interested in the recent piece about (non-religious) children's books on the topic.

This last weekend, we lost a dear family friend, Nicky Baccile. In the spirit of participating in a larger conversation on mourning, I'd like to share a poem I've been working on in his memory:

for Nicky

Baby smiles in his stroller-sleep
as we follow the streets home.
A taxi blocks the traffic, mailman sorts his packages;
just another day.

Autumnal light recasts
the gingko’s yellows.

I think of you in Abruzzo,
leading our family through a field high above the Adriatic.
Summer shadows were playful
creatures through the grass.

We hadn’t yet lifted glasses of Montepulciano d'Abruzzo
to toast hand-woven mozzarella and round bread loaves,
al dente pasta with fresh mint and walnuts,
roasted pork with a side of spinach and

our days together.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Singapore Poetry: New venture from poet Jee Leong Koh

"Next time someone says Singapore to you, say Poetry." - Jee Leong Koh on Singapore Poetry

Poet Jee Leong Koh, who has kindly shared his thoughts on this blog in the past, recently announced his newest venture: the website Singapore Poetry. It addresses all things "poetic" from Singapore - poetry and other writing genres, movies, art and more. The website has an expansive nature. I particularly love the idea of the Favorite Singapore Poem.

I look forward to continuing to read! And hopefully visiting the country one day.

For more on Jee, a New York City poet originally from Singapore, visit his blog, Song of a Reformed Headhunter

Friday, November 1, 2013

Every Single Day in November: Write! Write! Write!

November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo.) Are you joining the challenge of writing every single day and, perhaps, finishing your novel by November 30th? Join the official website to find events near you and an online community.

Poets might try the Poem a Day Chapbook Challenge with Robert Lee Brewer. He offers daily prompts here. And Creative Non Fiction folks shouldn't miss their own daily challenge.

While I'll be passing this year (valid new baby excuse), I hope you'll let me know how you do. I welcome guest blog posts throughout the month or afterwards about your progress. Email me if you're interested: Chloemiller(at)gmail(dot)com. 

Monday, October 21, 2013

Toadlily Press: Mend & Hone

I'm excited to announce that I'm the new Special Projects Coordinator for Toadlily Press. Toadlily Press is different from other poetry presses in that they publish authors in a 4-in-1 format: four poets in one handsome, perfect-bound book. I'm thrilled to be a part of it all.

My first task is to send out copies of the new book, Mend & Hone, for review. The book is a collection in four parts by poets Janlori Goldman, Dawn Gorman, Elizabeth Howort, and Leslie LaChance.

If you review poetry books, send me an email (chloemiller(at)gmail(dot)com) with your mailing address and affiliation for a review copy of the book.

Read more about the authors of Mend & Hone:

JANLORI GOLDMAN teaches at Columbia University in the fields of human rights, public health and narrative medicine. Her first manuscript was a finalist for the Alice James Kinereth Gensler Award, the Philip Levine Prize for Poetry and Crab Orchard Press’s Open Competition. Janlori holds an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College and volunteers as a writing mentor at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. She lives in Accord, NY.

DAWN GORMAN was born in the market town of Chesterfield in Derbyshire, England where, at the heels of her ornithologist father, she learned to love the natural world with a passion that now spills freely into her poetry. She refers to nature as her “muse, teacher and healer,” and the creative process as the way she makes sense of the world. She has two grown children and is the editor of an international maritime magazine.

ELIZABETH HOWORT has taught poetry at the elementary, high school and college level. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in the Seneca Review, L Magazine, The Round, Storyscape, the Best American Poetry blog and elsewhere. “Turning the Forest Fertile” is her first chapbook.

LESLIE LACHANCE edits and publishes Mixitini Matrix: A Journal of Creative Collaboration. Her poems have appeared in JMWW,’s Best of the Net, Apple Valley Review, The Greensboro Review, Juked, The Birmingham Poetry Review, the anthology A Slant of Light: Contemporary Women Writers of the Hudson Valley, and elsewhere. Born and raised in upstate New York, Leslie currently lives in Nashville, Tennessee.

Monday, October 14, 2013

November Poetry Readings in D.C. and Northern N.J.

I'm excited to be reading poems from Unrest this November in Washington, D.C. and northern New Jersey. Hope to see you at one of the readings! Click through for a full schedule of upcoming events.

Farmstead Arts
Poetry reading
Basking Ridge, New Jersey
Friday, November 8, 7:30 pm
Facebook event page

Writer's Center
Finishing Line Press reading: David Ebenbach, Chloe Yelena Miller, W.M. Rivera, and Pia Taavila
Bethesda, Maryland
Sunday, Nov. 18, 2:00 pm

Monday, October 7, 2013

Reviews of Unrest and Published Poems

Everyone likes good news and I hope you don't mind if I share some with you. As a busy, working new mamma, I'm particularly excited to see that my writing life continues.

I'm excited to share two reviews of Unrest:

Eric LeMay writes in Alimentum Journal, "In twenty-two lyric poems, Miller gives us a vision that reckons with loss and love, desire and distance, all the while aware of the very human acts that make us who we are. In “Dying at Home, 1937,” the poem opens with a bedside scene. A father is about to die:

His daughter massaged his eyelids with careful thumbs,
as if petting a goldfish.

That goldfish grounds the experience, lets us grasp it as readers. And it’s Miller’s awareness of how we moor our greatest concerns in the small touch that gives her collection its power."

Jude Marr writes in Ghost Ocean Magazine, "The last, and longest, poem in this chapbook is called “Haunt Me. Repeat.” If Miller required me to “unrest” as a prerequisite for becoming her reader, then this may be my response. “Haunt me. Repeat.” Job done."

I'm also thrilled two have two prose poems published in the Beltway Poetry Review. One poem is about my great Aunt Dora and the other is a love poem to my husband.

I hope you'll click through the links to read the full reviews and poems. 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Writing Plan: Using your best energy

Working on a long-term project, like a full-length memoir, takes dedication and hard work. It also takes some practical organization of your time and energy. You'll need to do some research, brainstorming and first draft writing, editing and revising and then submitting to agents or publishers. While the final revisions and submissions come last, the other steps can happen intermittently.

There are times when I don't feel like writing; I simply don't feel creative and don't have anything to say. This is a time to potentially focus on my editing, revising and research skills rather than simply calling it, "writer's block." Sure, regular writing and flexing of this creative muscle can help to shorten these periods, but this is a good time to do some research and review what I've already written.

There are other times when I feel very creative. Why not take advantage of this and make the time to produce new work? It would be a waste to take out the so-called red pen to edit, do a poor job of it and then lose the potential creative output.

Honor the period you're in and use the energy to keep your project going forward. Sure, sometimes there are deadlines or you're in a point in your work that you don't have that flexibility, but overall, do your best to take advantage of the state your in. Remember that editing, revising and researching are important parts of your project, so even if you aren't writing, you're still moving forward.

Keep up the good writing work, friends! How do you best take advantage of your natural energies?